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The History of the Abarth 500

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Today the Abarth brand is synonymous with impressive motoring engineering and design excellence.

Today the Abarth brand is synonymous with impressive motoring engineering and design excellence. What many don’t know is that the story behind the brand is rich in heritage and racing car history, which are still evident in the impressive models we see on the road today.

The company was first founded by Austrian-born Karl Abarth, who built his career from his extensive knowledge of motorcycles and connections in the racing industry. After suffering a near fatal motorcycle accident he was forced to abandon his racing career, which earned him five European Motorcycle Championships, and began experimenting with some of his own mechanical ideas.

Abarth moved to Italy in the 1940s and changed his name to the more Italian-sounding Carlo, before becoming a representative of the Porsche Design Studio. He then went on to develop a close relationship with Italian sports-car manufacturer Cisitalia and used his extensive list of contacts and motoring connections to found Abarth & Co, together with his racing driver friend, Guido Scagliarini.

Interesting Fact – The official Abarth logo is based on Carlo’s birth sign, the scorpion!

After just one year of trading the company had already employed over 40 members of staff and was manufacturing a range of tailor-made exhaust silencers. Despite being costly at the time the company sold thousands of the silencers, which boasted a matt finish with chrome-plated tips, resulting in the brand becoming widely recognised for its impressive quality offerings.

In 1958 the manufacturer created its first Abarth 500, which was also one of the first city cars to take to the road. Following the success of the model, the decision was made to give it an Abarth makeover, increasing the engine size and optimising the fuel intake systems with sports exhaust. Although little was changed on the exterior, the spruced up 595 model had twice the amount of horsepower and went on to break six international records as well as achieve 900 individual race victories by 1965.

Interesting Fact – The Abarth name became so popular by the sixties that it was used as a byword for performance. When ordering a strong coffee, people would ask for an Abarth coffee!

Years later in 2007, Fiat re-launched the Abarth brand with a fresh new range of sporty models, which continue to be sold around the world to this day. To take a closer look at how the vehicles have transformed in design, click here to view our Abarth range.

Richard Hardie Durham Supporting Local Hospice

Richard Hardie Durham Supporting Local Hospice

Posted on: 19th Jan 2018

Both the Sales and Service team at Richard Hardie Durham have helped to support St Cuthbertís Hospice, a local charity offering care services to people with life limiting conditions.

Driving Test Changes In December 2017

Driving Test Changes In December 2017

Posted on: 4th Dec 2017

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have confirmed that from today (Monday 4th December), changes to the driving test are now in effect.

Winter Driving Questions Unveiled: Part 1

Winter Driving Questions Unveiled: Part 1

Posted on: 15th Nov 2017

With the cold winter days fast approaching and the dark nights now here, driving can be a daunting experience. Whether youíre driving to work, the shops or travelling to a relativeís home for Christmas ensuring your car is in full working condition is essential. Sometimes though, we forget some of the rules of the road during the colder months; rea...

The All-New Peugeot 5008 SUV Coming Soon To Richard Hardie

The All-New Peugeot 5008 SUV Coming Soon To Richard Hardie

Posted on: 26th Oct 2017

Arriving to Richard Hardie Peugeot Centres in January 2018, the All-New Peugeot 5008 SUV is set to make heads turn with its sharp robust design. If you canít wait till January, Richard Hardie Ashington and Durham are holding exclusive preview events in November. See the bottom of this article to book your appointment!